The play "Burn This" represents a homecoming from Pruitt Taylor Vince in more ways than one. He's coming back to the stage and working again in Louisiana, his home state.
The play premieres Friday at LSUS, and I've authored a few pieces about it. You can watch the slideshow here and read a recent article here.
The film and TV actor cut his teeth on the stage in the late 70s and early 80s, both in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He attended LSU with Robert Alford, who's now an LSUS professor and is directing "Burn This."
When I asked Vince if it was a risk to return to the stage after more than 20 years, he said, "It’s like home. I left the stage and went off and learned film acting. Now I’m back, and I’m experienced."
He talked about the difference between having a "glorious amount of time in theater" and "how fast you have to do things in film." For film, he creates his characters largely before he gets to the set. For the stage, he creates characters in collaboration. At LSUS, "We’re taking two months of almost being together around the clock to put this play together. In film, you have five minutes to meet everyone, block it, work out the camera and lights, and then shoot it."
No wonder stage actors who work in film like returning to the stage.
Actor Ryan Williams, who's joining Vince in the play, spoke about the difference of working with Vince and local actors. He gave the impression that it's largely the same. "For the Shreveport-Bossier area, we’ve got some great talent. We’ve got some Equity members, SAG members, but I’ve not ever worked with a Tony winner or certainly not an Emmy winner," Williams said. Vince apparently is working to fit in, not stand out. "His general attitude is a great, welcoming attitude."
If you go to the show, keep an eye out for the strong chemistry between Williams and actress Megan Brown. Williams attended Centenary College and honed his skills under Patric McWilliams and Bob Buseick, who now run River City Repertory Theatre.
"One thing I learn at Centenary from Patric and Buseick was jumping in and taking the risks and not being afraid to do it. From day one, (Megan and I) just kind of jumped in together," Williams said. "It’s very nice just to be able to relax and know that the other person has got your back if you completely screw up. Which, you know, it happens."
We'll soon see Vince in another Louisiana production. He acted in the movie "In the Electric Mist," which was shot around Lafayette (where Vince lives).
PHOTO CREDIT: Actors Pruitt Taylor Vince (left) and Ryan Williams rehearse a scene from "Burn This " at LSUS. (Greg Pearson/The Times)